We mention our Silhouette CAMEO craft machine quite a bit here on the blog, and we use it even more than we mention it! We love how easy it is to use, and how much it helps to speed up crafting tasks that would take hours to complete using scissors. While it’s fairly obvious that a craft machine helps make paper crafts quick and easy, there are so many other ways to use it! If you have a craft machine that you don’t use very often, or are looking into buying one but aren’t quite sure if it’s worth the money, this post is for you.
Here are some of my very favorite non-paper ways to use a craft machine!
I’m sure most of us have attempted at least one heat transfer project in the past. I’ve certainly attempted to do printed heat transfers, and they never quite seem to live up to what I had in mind. It’s hard to cut close enough around the design so that there isn’t a clear border on your final project. But that’s not the case using a craft machine!
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Using our Silhouette CAMEO, I cut a mirrored design into some gold glitter heat transfer material (also made by Silhouette.) Peeling off the negative space material around my design revealed a clear adhesive sheet underneath. I flipped the design over so that the clear sheet was facing up, and placed my design onto a canvas bag.
Placing a dishtowel over the design, I ironed the design onto the bag, and carefully peeled away the clear sheet.
In just a few simple steps, I was able to make a fun custom tote bag that looks good enough to have come from a store. I think it would make a great gift, too!
Before I attempted this project, I was admittedly a bit nervous. “Glass etching” sounds complicated, and frankly, a bit dangerous! To my surprise it was actually incredibly quick, easy, and relatively mess-free. And using our craft machine was an integral part of the process!
I decided to replicate a product I’ve seen at a couple of stores, which is an oil dispenser bottle with the name of the oil etched into the surface of the glass. I measured the front surface of the bottle, and created a design using the Silhouette Studio software that fit those dimensions. Then cut the design into Silhouette’s stencil vinyl material, and carefully removed the letters from the rest of the material. (I messed up my first attempt because I started removing the negative space like I would with most paper projects, rather than the letters themselves. It’s a stencil, so the negative space stays!)
I peeled away the backing from my stencil, then placed the transfer tape (which was included with the stencil vinyl) onto the front of the stencil. I positioned the stencil into place on my glass bottle, then slowly and carefully peeled away the transfer tape. The stencil will adhere better if you clean your glass surface using rubbing alcohol. (I read this tip after I was already done, so I’m sure this would have made the process much easier!) I used painters tape around the edge of the stencil to ensure I wouldn’t get any of the etching cream anywhere else by accident.
Using a small paint brush, I brushed a layer of etching cream onto my stencil, and then let the whole thing sit for about 15 minutes. I rinsed the cream off, removed the stencil, and my bottle was done!
I love how my bottle turned out, and my mind is already buzzing with more ideas for etched glass!
Since glass etching is a project that does require a few different supplies, Silhouette helpfully offers a glass etching starter kit that includes their stencil vinyl, etching cream, ready-made stencils, and an instruction booklet.
Our craft machine is probably most frequently used to make vinyl stickers. While vinyl stickers can be applied almost anywhere (like mirrors, walls, furniture, etc.) my kids love making stickers for their car windows. You know those kiosks at the mall that sell vinyl stickers? You’ll want to open your own sticker kiosk once you discover how easy they are to make using your craft machine!
Simply select a design (either from a design store like the Silhouette Design Store, or create your own — the Viking Raven above we made for my husband’s truck) then use your machine to cut the design into your preferred color of vinyl. My kids tend to stick to glossy white vinyl, since the white stickers really pop on the dark glass of the rear windshield.
Remove the negative space around your design, then adhere a piece of transfer tape to the front of your design. When you’re ready to place your sticker onto your chosen surface, remove the backing from the back of your design, and press the sticker firmly to your surface. To eliminate air bubbles, it’s helpful to stick one edge down at first, and use a credit card or some other firm, straight edge to slowly press the rest of the sticker down while removing the backing. Finally, slowly peel the transfer tape away from your design.
You can see more ideas and examples of using vinyl stickers in a recent post here on the blog, 3 DIY Organizing Projects.
Most kids love a good temporary tattoo, and you can make custom ones quickly and easily using a craft machine. Silhouette’s print-and-cut feature makes it simple, since you can print onto their special tattoo paper from your inkjet printer using their software. After your sheet is printed, you place a clear sheet on top and put it back into your machine to cut the tattoos. Once it’s done cutting, just peel the individual tattoos away from the cutting mat, and apply to your heart’s content!
We made some a bunch of temporary tattoos for our launch party for “Jillee Bean and the One Good Thing,” and the kids were crazy about them. Little hands and faces everywhere were covered in butterflies, dogs, and jelly beans. Fun!
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Trust me, these project are just the tip of the iceberg! If you need to see for yourself, I suggest heading over to Pinterest and searching for “[your craft machine] projects,” and see how many results come up! You’ll have enough project inspiration for several lifetimes. :-)
And if you’re interested in buying one of Silhouette’s great craft machines, you can use the code JILLEE on the Silhouette website to save…